A woman went viral on Facebook after she was captured complaining to service dog trainers about not being allowed to pet the animals, despite multiple signs on the dog’s vest asking that the dog not be touched. She has since become known as “Service Dog Sally.”
Meg Stoff, who originally shared the video, wrote that she had a “crazy experience” at a Pittsburgh mall on Dec. 19, where she was helping train dogs to become accustomed to public areas.
“People ask us all the time, so I just said, ‘no.’ All the dogs are working so it’s my go-to answer. And they walked away. No big deal, right?” she said. “This lady went out of her way to come back with her child and yell at us for saying ‘no.’ … And we should ‘have a sign or something.'”
In the video, “Service Dog Sally” can be seen holding her daughter and ranting at the owner of the training program. Dogs in vests with patches that say not to pet them are also featured.
As many know, service dogs should not be touched while working, as it may distract them from their handler and their specific needs of the animal.
It appears that the woman initially wanted Stoff disciplined for being “rude” by simply saying “no” to her when she asked if she, or her daughter, could pet a dog. When informed that the person she was speaking to was the owner of the program and that she was being recorded, she walks away and says she will “call [her] lawyer.”
Stoff, who told Bored Panda that she has autism, said that she can’t “speak very efficiently at all so I can’t explain even if I wanted to.” She added she doesn’t always “have the energy to explain what [the dog] is doing or why she can’t be petted.”
“I might shake my head no, or indicate in some other short way not to pet her or talk to her, and I just want to have that respected. People also often take pictures of us without asking and that makes me really super uncomfortable, I don’t want people to do that at all,” she said.
In a written statement provided to Pittsburgh news outlet WTAE, the woman in the video clarified that she initially accepted the “rude” answer of “no,” and that she and her friend were continuing on to Starbucks when she “heard a woman from the group tell us to [f***] off. My daughter was being held by me when she used profanity,” which is why she confronted the group.
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